Juggling two bands at once

Discussion in 'Band Wagon' started by Hatfield92, May 21, 2019.

  1. Hatfield92

    Hatfield92 Tele-Meister

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    So the first band I joined, some of you may recall me posting something a couple of months ago...I play lead, the rhythm player is basically deaf (wears cochlear implants) and his dad does most of the singing and is picking up bass. When I posted, I included links to a couple of rehearsal recordings for feedback. I was heartened by the response, and I got some really nice advice.

    I’m still rehearsing with those guys. We canned the drummer on those recordings, and only within the past two weeks did we find a suitable replacement. Things are starting to come together a little more, and we have our first couple of gigs booked for late June.

    But right around the time of the aforementioned post, I answered a Craigslist post from a retro funk/disco/dance band seeking a guitarist. Confession time: I’ve always dug that kind of stuff, and it’s long been a goal of mine to be in this kind of band.

    Anyway, they auditioned me and I got the part. It’s the largest group I’ve ever been a part of. Besides me (the only guitar), there’s two female vocalists, a keyboard player, bassist, drummer and a percussionist who also sings a couple of songs.

    And, I’ve got to tell you, I’m having the time of my life musically. These are some of the finest musicians I’ve played with. And they seem to like me quite a bit too, strangely enough. We’ve only practiced together three times (each Sunday is a marathon session), but we are going to be one helluva band. They’ve all been together maybe a year, but needed to make a change when their guitarist just wasn’t getting it. So I’m playing catch-up.

    But it’s also helping me enjoy being in the other group more. It’s an entirely different thing. We’re mining the usual seam of southern bar band rootsy rock/country/soul stuff. Heavy on the Stones, Petty, Seger, CCR and the like. But I love that stuff too. I find it very fulfilling as well.

    The classic rock four piece is never going to be able to hold a candle to the funk band, really. I don’t think. It’s pretty gloriously sloppy and loosey-goosey. But I’m also not sweating the fact as much now that I have the other band. If we work out, great. If we don’t, whatever. I’ll just enjoy the ride.

    I know this has been kind of rambling, but for those of you still reading, I have a question or two. I haven’t mentioned to the guys in the four piece that I have this new, other project going. The members of the funk band do know. I should come clean sooner rather than later, right?

    Like I mentioned already, the four piece has its first gig in about a month. The funk band is probably a month, give or take, from being stage ready. They want us to be tight. It’s coming together nicely, but the once weekly practices (and the fact that folks are leaving town for the upcoming holiday weekend, myself included) are delaying us.

    Probably, at some point, I’ll need to pick a priority. But I don’t see it becoming an issue any time super soon. Theoretically, I could see myself staying in both bands unless one starts getting a whole lot of regular bookings... which is what I’ve been chasing for months now: a regularly gigging band.

    Thoughts? Comments? Is this a dick move?
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2019
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  2. ReverendRevolver

    ReverendRevolver Tele-Meister

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    If you enjoy both, no reason to slide another to the back burner. I'd tell the first group in passing, for sure, but not in a way to alarm them.

    I once had 3 band practices in one day for 2 projects and then my actual band, and then was supposed to stand in with another band for the last 40 minutes of a wedding reception. I'm not a good singer, but I've never paced myself so poorly as that day, it's a good thing I didn't volunteer for anything above singing backup.
    You'll know your limits if it gets to be too much or doesn't feel fun anymore.
     
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  3. Hatfield92

    Hatfield92 Tele-Meister

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    I’m nowhere near that. I need MORE playing in my life.

    Hey, anybody wanna start a jam band?
     
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  4. Steve 78

    Steve 78 Tele-Afflicted

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    I would be straight up about being in the other band. It shouldn't be a big deal unless both bands are so busy that there are regular clashes. The other question is have you got the time and inclination to put in the time required for both bands?

    Back in the day, I was playing in 5 bands at once (okay, okay, only 3 of them played live regularly, the other 2 were occasional / recording projects). Everyone in each band was aware and it was never an issue. But I did say to one of the bands that if I started getting too busy with the others then I would need to quit (which I did after a few years). I think playing different styles is great for improving yourself as a musician and that benefits both the bands.
     
  5. dogmeat

    dogmeat Tele-Holic

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    so no "real" job then? Ha ha... just kidding. if you got the time, play both. are you going to get paid? then it gets more serious, and scheduling conflicts may become a problem. thats when you have to make decisions. if it was me, I'd put my emphasis on the talent. they sound like they have a better chance of booking solid gigs (assuming thats what you want) and maybe even making a following
     
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  6. El Marin

    El Marin Tele-Holic

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    I play in 3 bands and do some subs as well. One band is kinda Dr. Feelgood pub-rock onjly originals, one band is acoustic rockabilly and the third is rock covers

    You just have to get used and switch your mind

    No big problem
     
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  7. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

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    Playing in a few bands can be fun but also can be an issue. One band books a date and you are already booked. Quick way to get canned.

    #1... I play in two steadily working bands and fill in with another now and then. One band plays alternate Thursdays, 6 to 8, this band rarely plays weekends or anywhere else. I've been on is gig for 4 years.

    #2... The MAIN band as I call it, we play weekends now and then and Summer festivals. I've been with this group 15 years. We don't play the club circuit anymore.

    #3...I also fill in with another local artist , weekends now and then.


    here's the problem. #1 and #2 don't conflict but may if #1 books a Fri night dance well in advance which is maybe twice a year. This band CAN play without me , they can bring in another player.

    #2, cannot play without me, I am the lead player and second harmony voice. They cannot just bring in another player on short notice. Not gonna happen. Its a rehearsed set list, not a jam.

    #3 , I can get a call a for a weekend which can conflict with # 2 if I accept the date too far in advance.

    So, I don't worry about #1 and #2.. IF a conflict arises I discuss it with #1 and get a fill in, it's an easy gig for a seasoned player. Nothing musically is cast in concrete.

    #3, I don't accept the gig right away , unless its for the following weekend where I know I'm free. I get back to him in a short period after talking to band leader of #2.


    #2 is the priority. This is the band that I am MOST musically invested in. rehearsals, time, song choices..etc..This is the band I want to play with . This is the band where the music is exciting and we have to work to keep it exciting. Good Enough is not Good Enough.


    Playing in a few bands, prioritize which one means the most to you musically. You have to pick one and make it work commitment wise or you will not be with any band very long. The other bands have to accept your position , live with it, one way or the other. You can't play in two bands on the same night !
     
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  8. SecretSquirrel

    SecretSquirrel Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    Hatfield, congrats on landing the funk band gig — I'd love to play in a band like that.

    Better tell the first guys, while assuring them you're not on the verge of quitting...they'll appreciate it.
     
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  9. beagle

    beagle Friend of Leo's

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    You just have to keep everybody informed of when you are and are not available.
     
  10. dannyh

    dannyh Tele-Afflicted

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    Just my two cents..ymmv....yadda yadda...

    I play in multiple bands, and most of the other guys in these bands do too. Everybody knows the others have other gigs. It’s kinda just the nature of the business these days, at least around here. It’s easier to stay busy with multiple bands than keeping one band working enough. From a purely selfish standpoint (aside from the work) I really enjoy playing a variety of music. It actually helps keep everything “fresh”, or at least fresher than it would be if I only played in one band. It also sometimes acts as an additional incentive for guys to book gigs, so that particular band “keeps up”, so to speak.
    There are overlaps and conflicts as far as available dates go occasionally,,but it’s all upfront, understood and dealt with.

    Point being, it’s doable, as long you’re honest with them about it, AND they’re on board. If you tell them the situation, then you’ve done your part, imho. If that situation doesn’t work for them, then you’ll have a decision to make. You gotta do what’s best for you.

    Best of luck and keep us posted!
     
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  11. Marc Morfei

    Marc Morfei Tele-Holic

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    Of course be honest with everyone. You wouldn’t be able to hide it for long even if you wanted too. Promise everyone that you will do you best to minimize conflicts. Eventually there will be a schedule conflict. Communicate. Let both bands know what your scheduled dates are with the other band, so you don’t get double booked. Own it, and let your actions show everyone that you are taking both bands seriously and not blowing anybody off. If you reach a point where you have to choose, then choose.
     
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  12. Gene O.

    Gene O. Tele-Holic

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    Working in both should be very doable. Definitely be up front to both, but IMO I think you should tell the loosey-goosey 4-pc bad that if a conflict arises you're taking the funk band gig since it sounds like they are tighter and more well rehearsed, and therefore can't just add a sub on the fly. If the 4-pc is that loose, playing with a sub shouldn't be an issue. Regardless, just set a priority.

    Good luck!
     
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  13. Tomm Williams

    Tomm Williams Tele-Holic

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    I’ll refrain from using your term “dick move” but you’ve already stated that at some point you’re going to make one band a priority so where does that leave the other band? Each band asked you to join as they needed you to complete their project and are assuming you are part of the “team”. If you place yourself in a position where you’re not able to commit to either (or both?) bands then how much of their time have you wasted while you were essentially auditioning them?

    I tossed a bass player out of my band 3 years ago as he wanted to be part of every band in town and it caused multiple issues. Today ALL of those bands cease to exist while my band is going on about 15 years of playing together. He sits at home now playing with only occasional opportunities as he’s developed a reputation as a “ mercenary” not a band member.

    I know there are plenty of folks here who make multi band situations work just fine and I say good for them. It doesn’t work for me. If you cannot fully commit to both bands then pick one as soon as possible so the other band can replace you and move on with what they hoped you would be part of.
     
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  14. -Hawk-

    -Hawk- Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I just quit doing this because it was stressful. I picked the band that played the music I liked and had the best musicians and politely left the others.
     
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  15. Paul in Colorado

    Paul in Colorado Telefied Ad Free Member

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    In my band, the bass player plays in another band and subs for another. The drummer subs and the Steel player sometimes plays with a couple of other bands. I'm band leader/guitarist/singer and it's my main gig. I'm fine with the other folks having gigs if it doesn't affect this band. We do need a sub for the steel player as he's going out of town and we got a gig we couldn't change the dates on. But that's more the exception.

    I have some friends I sometimes jam with who don't gig and I'm going to get together with some guys at the radio station I tech at and see if we can't get something happening. I don't see any conflicts at the moment. At one time I was in three bands. That got a little overwhelming as I had a day job then.

    Just be honest with every one and enjoy it!
     
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  16. Martin R

    Martin R Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Our bass player is in two other bands. We cannot book a gig without looking at her calendar. While it's good for her it's a huge pain in the ass for us.
     
  17. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I can't really remember the last time I didn't have like 4 projects going on simultaneously. I get bored doing one genre and I don't like to limit myself, that way.

    Of course, none of my bands are super busy, or it wouldn't be do-able.
     
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  18. MilwMark

    MilwMark Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    Simple rule. Band that books first, gets the night. Tell both. No problems. If they can't handle that, weird.
     
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  19. String Tree

    String Tree Doctor of Teleocity

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    So many of us have Been there and done that.
    Come clean, everybody needs to know how you feel.
    It will be soooo worth it in the years to come.
    Do all you can to not burn any Bridges.

    In my case, none of the Bands I play with have enough work for me to only be in one band.
    Plus, all of my Bandmates equally mercinary.

    Enjoy the ride.
     
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  20. MilwMark

    MilwMark Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    I have on band where the guys like to get together and rock at least once a week. We all live in roughly the same 'hood and the rehearsal space is about 5 minutes away. It's great.

    Before that, I needed to be in 2-3 bands, to be playing live music with people 2-3x a month. So I had to be in more than one, because I needed to make music with other humans at least a couple times a month.

    Now I could probably be in just the band that likes to play a lot, but I enjoy the company, musicianship and material of the others as well.
     
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